Keyword Cipher

A keyword cipher is a form of monoalphabetic substitution. A keyword is used as the key, and it determines the letter matchings of the cipher alphabet to the plain alphabet. Repeats of letters in the word are removed, then the cipher alphabet is generated with the keyword matching to A,B,C etc. until the keyword is used up, whereupon the rest of the ciphertext letters are used in alphabetical order, excluding those already used in the key Worked Example.

Plaintext: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Encrypted: K R Y P T O S A B C D E F G H I J L M N Q U V W X Z

With KRYPTOS as the keyword, all As become Ks, all Bs become Rs and so on. Encrypting the message "knowledge is power" using the keyword "kryptos":

Plaintext: K N O W L E D G E I S P O W E R Encoded: D G H V E T P S T B M I H V T L

Only one alphabet is used here, so the cipher is monoalphabetic.

The best ways to attack a keyword cipher without knowing the keyword are through known-plaintext attack, frequency analysis and discovery of the keyword (often a cryptanalist will combine all three techniques). Keyword discovery allows immediate decryption since the table can be made immediately.

Classical cryptography
Ciphers
  • ADFGVX
  • Affine
  • Alberti
  • Atbash
  • Autokey
  • Bifid
  • Book
  • Caesar
  • Chaocipher
  • Dvorak
  • Four-square
  • Great
  • Hill
  • Kama Sutra
  • Keyword
  • Nihilist
  • One-time pad
  • Permutation
  • Pigpen
  • Playfair
  • Polyalphabetic
  • Polybius
  • Rail Fence
  • Rasterschl√ľssel 44
  • Reihenschieber
  • Reservehandverfahren
  • ROT13
  • Running key
  • Scytale
  • Smithy code
  • Solitaire
  • Straddling checkerboard
  • Substitution
  • Tap code
  • Transposition
  • Trifid
  • Two-square
  • VIC cipher
  • Vigen√®re
Cryptanalysis
  • Frequency analysis
  • Index of coincidence
  • Kasiski examination
Miscellaneous
  • Cryptogram
  • Bacon
  • Scytale
  • Straddling checkerboard
  • Tabula recta
Cryptography
  • History of cryptography
  • Cryptanalysis
  • Cryptography portal
  • Outline of cryptography
  • Symmetric-key algorithm
  • Block cipher
  • Stream cipher
  • Public-key cryptography
  • Cryptographic hash function
  • Message authentication code
  • Random numbers
  • Steganography

Famous quotes containing the word cipher:

    The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)